Why it would be a catastrophic mistake.
If the Arab Spring hasn’t posed enough threats to the Middle East, a new danger looms on the horizon that threatens the safety and existence of Israel: the United Nations is considering a vote on establishing Palestinian statehood by September 2011.
Although the Obama Administration has suggested it would block statehood if it came up for a vote in the Security Council, there is the danger that the issue will be voted on in the U.N. General Assembly, in which Palestinian Arabs have the overwhelming support of the nations of the world and the U.S. does not have a veto. While votes in the General Assembly are only advisory, not binding, success of the Palestinian Arabs there can still be extremely dangerous. While it would be only “a symbolic diplomatic victory,” in practical effect it would mean much more since it would not prevent the international community from demanding that Israel comply with statehood provisions.
Recently, former UN Ambassador John Bolton explained to the Wall Street Journal why Palestinian statehood is dangerous:
“Recognizing ‘statehood’ does not mean U.N. membership, but it would nonetheless be a major Palestinian success. A resolution recognizing a Palestinian ‘state’ could also declare its boundary to be the 1967 borders (in actuality, merely the 1949 armistice lines), with or without President Obama’s caveat about ‘agreed upon swaps’ of land…If President Obama wants to block a General Assembly Palestinian statehood resolution, he should act essentially as President. Bush did — an act which involved a threat that the U.S. would withdraw financial support from the U. N. Yet Mr. Obama is highly unlikely to do anything so decisive, which is why many in America and Israel remain gravely concerned about this latest diplomatic ploy favoring the Palestinian Arabs.”
President Obama does appear to share some of the same understanding as Ambassador Bolton of the dangers of U.N. action on statehood:
“I strongly believe that for Palestinians to take the United Nations route [for establishing Palestinian Arab statehood] rather than the path of sitting down and talking with the Israelis is a mistake. The United Nations can achieve a lot of important work; what it is not going to be able to do is deliver a Palestinian state. The only way to see a Palestinian state is if Palestinians and Israelis agree on a just peace.”
But there are other problems concerning the very idea of establishing a new Arab state on territories now held by Israel. One of these is that peace agreements that have been made by the Palestinian Arabs have never been complied with. According to chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat, Palestinians reject peace negotiations, let alone the demand by Prime Minister Netanyahu that Arabs recognize Israel as a Jewish state. Nor are Arabs willing to relinquish their demands for the “right of return” of millions of Arabs, so-called refugees, to mainline Israel. This action, if carried out, would end the existence of Israel as a Jewish state, changing in borders beyond what Israel held in 1948, including that of Israeli control of Jerusalem. All are major stumbling blocks to agreements and reflect a basic reality: Palestinian Arabs fundamentally refuse lasting solutions for peace with Israel since their ambition has always been to push Jews into the sea.
Ambassador Bolton is correct. President Obama must act swiftly to prevent U.N. action on a Palestinian statehood resolution, lest the forces of chaos between Israel and the Arab Middle East become uncontrollable.
Meanwhile, President Obama underestimates inherent difficulties in the very proposal of a Palestinian state. One of the most significant problems is that many Islamic leaders adhere to Sharia law and do not abide by democratic systems that would constrain their power. Yasser Arafat exemplified this when he was in authority over Palestinian Arabs. Arafat’s leadership placed his people in poverty, while he diverted vast sums given to them for his own use, blaming Israel for the squalor he promoted in the areas he controlled. No effort was made to better the Arab people; rather, constant efforts took the form of undermining Israel’s statehood. This situation is hardly conducive to the establishment of a peaceful nation alongside Israel.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in his recent address to both Houses of Congress, observed that, in order to keep the Palestinian Arabs in a state of rage and enmity toward Israel, the Arab leaders brainwash their people from infancy into believing they are enslaved by the Jews:
“[O]ur conflict has never been about the establishment of a Palestinian state; it’s always been about the existence of the Jewish state. This is what this conflict is about….In recent years; the Palestinians twice refused generous offers by Israeli prime ministers to establish a Palestinian state on virtually all the territory won by Israel in the Six Day War. They were simply unwilling to end the conflict. And I regret to say this: They continue to educate their children to hate. They continue to name public squares after terrorists. And worst of all, they continue to perpetuate the fantasy that Israel will one day be flooded by the descendants of Palestinian refugees. My friends, this must come to an end.”
Palestinians and their leaders are still the PLO, not Palestine. They do not seek statehood. Otherwise, peace accords would have been accomplished decades-ago. A two-state territory won’t end existing violence; hatred won’t be terminated by tyrant leaders who need people worked into frenzied hatred against Israel. Chaos will never subside under a Palestinian state, but increase by legitimizing terror that will be the essence of that state.
The only road forward to peace is carrying out a true negotiation between the parties. In this, the Arab side will have to agree to accept conditions of demilitarization and other constraints that make it clear that they will not be able to continue in a warlike status with Israel. This kind of agreement will be precluded if the Obama Administration fails to block statehood for Palestinian Arabs imposed by the U.N. The result will be the unraveling of all prior agreements accepted by Israel and the latter’s unilateral imposition through military action of the conditions for Israel’s security — an advent that will return the region to the conditions of all out war that characterized the early establishment of Israel.